Bridget McCall and Nicholas Van Messner toasted the tenth anniversary of their label LIFEwithBIRD by presenting their S/S 2012/13 collection at Sydney Opera House (above). InStyle
sat down with one half of the duo, Van Messner, to muse upon the past decade and the future ahead. What's the inspiration behind this year's show and the new collection?
"There was really a reflective feeling between us, stemming from our 10 years. We wanted to explore the idea of journey, process and outcome – there are evolutionary references and juxtapositions of man and nature – but the essence is our journey." How do you feel you've grown as a label?
"The label in many ways has grown with us¬ – becoming more sophisticated as we became more confident of who we were as designers, and what we wanted to reflect in our designs." Describe the dynamic and design process, between Bridget and yourself?
"We bounce ideas off one another, and also instinctively trust each other – so that shapes the process. It's not always easy – we're both fiery and determined, but without that passion I'm not sure it would work. Bridget is incredible with direction, mood and the feel of a collection; I'm more technical and love the intricacies of pattern-making and problem-solving. We are on the same wavelength for some things and miles apart on others. Sometimes, we have to sell an idea to each other just to keep it in the mix. I think all designers edit as they go, but our editing process is just a little more complex!" How do you stay inspired?
"That's the fun part! If you love what you're doing it's not so hard. We travel: new surroundings away from the confines of the office let the juices flow. It's something we try to do before most collections. It's not the place that's important, but more the disconnect with the day-to-day. You become inspired and open when the phone's not ringing and there are a million emails to answer."What would you say has been one career highlight?
"Becoming friends with Francisco Costa and Malcolm Carfrae of Calvin Klein. For them to host a dinner for LIFEwithBIRD in NYC, with all of the top editors and buyers, was pretty incredible. In fashion it's important to make contacts and for those two to be so open and gracious towards us over the years has been amazing." How you envisage the next 10 years?
"It will be an exciting time to grow and really define our label through collections, collaborations and new retail ventures. We want LIFEwithBIRD to become an iconic Australian brand with a strong following both locally and internationally, and we are always striving towards this!"- Emma Ciufo